Adrian Dayton, Founder, ClearView Social Stefanie Marrone, Director of Business Development and Marketing, Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP
 

 

The tweet that changed my life

In 2009, Adrian Dayton responded to an inquiry on Twitter for a contract lawyer and landed a client. The opportunity to leverage social media to bring in business was not lost on him. In the subsequent months, he wrote the first book on social media for lawyers. Social media “masters” aren’t just experts at getting noticed, they deliver on business objectives, drive 10 times the traffic of their peers and bring in high-value clients.

Below are some of the insights Adrian and Stefanie brought to the table, including strategy, self-management, content sharing tools and “The Social Media Secret Sauce.”

The principle of karma is alive and well on Twitter

If you provide information that helps people get their jobs done better or solves a problem, this will circle back to you. You show people you’re an expert by providing useful content or responses, not by touting your own achievements.

Social Media Triangle: Empathy, Audience, Content

The number one challenge lawyers face with regard to social media is a lack of focus, which lies at the intersection of the following:

  1. Focus on a growth-phase industry (as opposed to emerging, mature or declining). Pick your target market and double down.
  2. By focusing, you’re going to be able to charge a premium for what you do. Focus ultimately increases the amount of business you can do in a specialized area, your overall volume of work and the amount you can charge, rather than eliminating opportunities, as is commonly believed.
  3. Marketers and marketing technologists can do the same thing, to similar effect.

Content: “When it comes to content, you can be a collector or you can be a creator,” notes Adrian. Collectors disseminate useful information for the benefit of a target audience.

Consider the Venn diagram below (courtesy of Adrian). Adrian points out that your content strategy can be two of these, but never all three. Think of “clickbait.” It’s cheap, fast and low-quality. Being a collector is good, it’s cheap, but it’s time-consuming.

clickbait

Collectors have to share every day. Weekly posts are not sufficient. How can you be that prolific? For example, ClearView Social’s platform streamlines social sharing across multiple social media channels, provides content suggestions, allows posts to be scheduled in advance and measures engagement.

Hierarchy of content, with proposed frequencies:

  • Tweet (text only)                            – Multiple times daily
  • Share found content                      – Daily
  • Blog post/original content           – Weekly
  • Video blog                                       – Weekly/Monthly
  • Long-form article                          – Quarterly
  • Webinar                                          – Quarterly
  • White paper                                   – Annually
  • Book                                                – Every few years

How do you maintain a rigorous schedule for creating and sharing content?

The key method suggested to stay on top of publishing regular content was an editorial calendar, and by spending hours writing every week.

According to Google, the ideal length for a blog post in terms of search engine optimization (SEO) is 2,200 words. In Google’s mind, a 2,200-word article is the most likely to answer people’s questions. Long-form content also results in more time on-page, an important search engine ranking criterion.

If you follow people and your bio is similar to theirs, they’re reasonably likely to follow you.

Cycling refers to the tactic where you follow people and, if they don’t follow you back, you unfollow them. If they notice, it’s a good way to get people into your network. Again with the caveat that you have to be engaging and helpful, you can use tags and “mentions” to piggyback off other people’s audiences, including amplifiers, thought leaders and influencers.

A few tools to help with things like content generation and finding an audience for your content are JDSupra, Lexology and Mondaq. These platforms require an investment but can be used effectively to add value to your marketing.

Social media masters are generous with their knowledge.

Social media masters create content that resonates specifically with one customer or type of customer. As IBM said, “Stop selling what you have. Start selling what they need.”

For all firms, the goal of social media marketing is lead generation and business development. It bears repeating that the way to leverage social media for business development is by providing helpful information, not by explicit self-promotion.

And finally, listen. Monitor your posts’ performance. When you strike a chord, keep at it, expanding on the same or similar topics.

Did you know?

Stephanie opened with a few key social media stats:

  • Within the legal industry, LinkedIn is the most important social media platform.
  • More than 70 percent of all visits to law firm websites originate through Google.
  • The human brain processes visual information vastly more quickly than text. Don’t bother posting anything without a visual.

It’s not about the number of followers you have – it’s about who follows you.

She went on to address a couple social media best practices. First, know your audience and which platforms it’s most engaged with. (Hint: In the legal industry, it probably isn’t Snapchat.)

Second, content should be totally centered on your clients at all times. Don’t focus on growing your audience; focus on providing value to those that matter.

To accomplish the above, the following social media tools can be helpful:

  1. Hashtagify.me Provides suggestions for the best hashtags by topic. There’s no reason to use more than two hashtags in a post, notes Stefanie. Beware of overkill.
  2. HubSpot Social Media Calendar A free tool to organize and track your social media content.
  3. The Essential Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet  Also free from HubSpot; learn the best image size for each platform.
  4. Pic Stitch  The #1 photo collage app for iPhone, also available on Windows and Google Play.
  5. Hootsuite – A social media marketing and management dashboard.
  6. Canva  A user-friendly graphic design platform.

And here it is…

“The Social Media Secret Sauce”

  • Reuse and repurpose content. Create once, publish everywhere. “Content is finite; the promotion of content is infinite.” – HubSpot
  • Show vs. tell. Every piece of content should demonstrate why you’re great, rather than telling others why you’re great.
  • Value-added, client-centric content. Again, the goal of social media marketing is lead generation and business development. Focus on what your clients and prospects want to hear, not what you want to tell them.
  • Giving back. Highlight pro-bono work and community service. The good works of your firm should not be underestimated and can make your prospects and clients see you in a different light.

The discussion closed with two final insights:

Share content at the right time.

In terms of engagement, clicks and shares, the time of day you post to social media matters as much as the quality of your content. For instance, LinkedIn posts get far fewer clicks between 10:45 AM and 4:30 PM than at other times like first thing in the morning and the close of the business day. Having a basic grasp of this will help you generate far greater interest with almost no additional effort.

Social sharing platforms such as ClearView Social, Hootsuite and Buffer can help you write posts when convenient and schedule them out for optimal times.

Use earned and owned media to generate visibility.

Earned media is basically exposure you’ve earned through word of mouth. Owned media is content you’re in direct control of through your site, blog, social media profiles and other platforms. They’re complementary, so think tactically about them. Make yourself part of the story. For instance, make yourself more than an attendee at a conference. Maximize the time your lawyers are figuratively away from their desks.

Social media is an incredibly useful business development tool in the legal industry, so use it!